The Rwandan government last week banned mosques from using loudspeakers for calls to prayer in the capital Kigali, the news website Koaci reported.
The government issued the new ban as part of its fight against noise pollution in Kigali. Now muezzins will no longer be able to use loudspeakers to call the faithful to prayer.
According to the authorities, the calls for prayer performed by the muezzins using loudspeakers disturb the Nyarugenge neighborhood in particular, where are the largest mosques in Kigali operate.
Sheikh Salim Hitimana, head of the Muslim Supreme Council in Rwanda, told local press that the ban came as “a surprise,” and said he is seeking a meeting with the authorities to discuss it. Another Muslim leader criticized the ban, saying the government should have instructed mosque officials to reduce the volume of their loudspeakers instead of issuing an outright ban.
Rwandan authorities are targeting mosques following an earlier campaign that targeted churches. Since February, 714 churches, most of them Pentecostal, have been closed by the Rwandan authorities for not respecting the minimum rules of safety, hygiene and the requirements to obtain legal operating permits.